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Ch 20: Early Civilizations Overview

About This Chapter

Use the lessons in this chapter to enhance your knowledge of early civilizations across the globe. Some civilizations covered in this chapter include Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley civilization, Mesoamericans and early Chinese civilizations.

Early Civilizations Overview - Chapter Summary

Review fun video and text lessons to get a quality overview of early civilizations. Find out how much you already know about civilizations in Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas. Lessons examine the people of the civilizations and the practices and laws that made them unique. Once you've explored the lessons, you will be able to:

  • Discuss the importance of the Nile River in Egypt and the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in Mesopotamia
  • Describe Mesopotamia as one of the oldest civilizations in the world
  • Share the history of money and the rise of complex economies
  • Provide details about the prerequisites and implications of Hammurabi's Code
  • Detail how and why writing was invented
  • Explain how early civilizations in Europe formed and organized
  • Describe the location of the Indus River, and share details about the Indus Valley civilization
  • Discuss the early Chinese civilization in the Huang-He River Valley
  • Share details about Mesopotamian civilizations and their achievements in astronomy and architecture
  • Provide information about the early civilizations in Africa south of the Sahara

Lessons are designed to give you an effective learning experience by providing step-by-step guidance in an entertaining package. Feel free to view the video and text lessons anytime, in any sequence and from any computer or mobile device. With the lessons are multiple-choice quizzes designed to assess your understanding of concepts covered. Enjoying access to this unique approach to online learning enables you to absorb information about early civilizations at your own pace.

12 Lessons in Chapter 20: Early Civilizations Overview
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Major River Systems of Mesopotamia & Egypt

1. Major River Systems of Mesopotamia & Egypt

Without rivers, the civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia might have never existed. Learn more about the role that the Nile River played in Egypt and the Tigris and Euphrates rivers played in Mesopotamia.

Mesopotamia: The First Civilization

2. Mesopotamia: The First Civilization

In this lesson, we explore the beginning of one of the oldest civilizations in the world, Mesopotamia. We specifically discuss the factors that encouraged settlement in the region.

The History of Money and Rise of Complex Economies

3. The History of Money and Rise of Complex Economies

This lecture covers the development of money in response to the needs of complex economies. It begins with a discussion of gift economies. It then examines the factors that led to the growth of commodity economies. Find out how we came to use money, rather than goods, for commerce.

Hammurabi's Code: The Advent of Law, Prerequisites and Implications

4. Hammurabi's Code: The Advent of Law, Prerequisites and Implications

This lecture discusses the need for law and the benefits of a judicial system. Next, it reviews the history of early law codes, like those of Ur-Nammu and Hammurabi. Finally, we look at the implications of law for kings.

How Writing Was Invented

5. How Writing Was Invented

Writing was literally an invention that not only changed history, but made its study possible. The Egyptians and the Mesopotamians were two of the first civilizations to invent writing. Learn how and why in this lesson!

Early Civilizations in Europe

6. Early Civilizations in Europe

Long before Rome or Greece, Europe was home to numerous other civilizations. Many of these we know only through archeology. This lesson casts a light back to look at these mysterious peoples that once called Europe home.

Indus River: Definition, Location & Facts

7. Indus River: Definition, Location & Facts

The Indus River, which flows through the heart of Pakistan for most of its length, is the 22nd longest river in the world and the 9th longest in Asia. Statistically, it may not sound all that impressive, but this big river has played a crucial role in the history and ecology of the region and continues to be a significant factor today.

Indus Valley Civilization: Harappa & Mohenjo-Daro

8. Indus Valley Civilization: Harappa & Mohenjo-Daro

In this lesson, we will explore the mysterious Indus Valley civilization, which was located in modern Pakistan and reached its high point between about 2500 BCE and 1900 BCE.

Early Chinese Civilization in the Huang-He River Valley

9. Early Chinese Civilization in the Huang-He River Valley

Although Chinese civilization developed along rivers much like cultures in Mesopotamia and Egypt, the idea of royal power took a completely different direction. Learn how the Mandate of Heaven ruled all in Ancient China.

Mesoamerican Civilizations: The Olmecs to Cortes

10. Mesoamerican Civilizations: The Olmecs to Cortes

This lesson focuses on the early cultures of Mesoamerica. The Olmec, Maya, and Aztecs developed great civilizations in Mesoamerica over millennia. Then, after all of this development and the building of a great empire, the Aztec were quickly defeated by Hernando Cortes.

Mesoamerican Achievements in Astronomy & Architecture

11. Mesoamerican Achievements in Astronomy & Architecture

In this lesson, you will explore the math and science of the Aztecs, Maya, and Inca: three of the greatest civilizations of the ancient Americas. Then, you will be able to test your understanding with a brief quiz.

Early Civilizations in Africa South of the Sahara

12. Early Civilizations in Africa South of the Sahara

In this lesson, you will explore and learn about several large empires and civilizations in Africa, just south of the Sahara Desert. In particular, you will learn about Aksum, the Kongo, and Zimbabwe.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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